WASHINGTON – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is launching a bold, new audit initiative today by issuing Notices of Inspection (NOIs) to 652 businesses nationwide – which is more than ICE issued throughout all of last fiscal year. The notices alert business owners that ICE will be inspecting their hiring records to determine whether or not they are complying with employment eligibility verification laws and regulations. Inspections are one of the most powerful tools the federal government has to enforce employment and immigration laws. This new initiative illustrates ICE’s increased focus on holding employers accountable for their hiring practices and efforts to ensure a legal workforce.
“ICE is committed to establishing a meaningful I-9 inspection program
to promote compliance with the law. This nationwide effort is a first
step in ICE’s long-term strategy to address and deter illegal employment,”
said Department of Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for ICE John
Morton. Employers are required to complete and retain a Form I-9 for each
individual they hire for employment in the United States. This form requires
employers to review and record the individual’s identity document(s)
and determine whether the document(s) reasonably appear to be genuine
and related to the individual.
The 652 businesses being presented with a NOI today for a Form I-9 audit
have been selected for inspection as a result of leads and information
obtained through other investigative means. Due to the ongoing, law enforcement
sensitive nature of these audits, the names and locations of the businesses
will not be released at this time.
In FY 2008, ICE issued 503 similar notices throughout the year. In April,
ICE implemented a new, comprehensive strategy to reduce the demand for
illegal employment and protect employment opportunities for the nation’s
lawful workforce. Under this strategy, ICE is focusing its resources on
the auditing and investigation of employers suspected of cultivating illegal
workplaces by knowingly employing illegal workers. The nationwide initiative
being launched today is a direct result of this new strategy.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was established in March
2003 as the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security.
ICE is comprised of five integrated divisions that form a 21st century
law enforcement agency with broad responsibilities for a number of key
homeland security priorities.